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tv   [untitled]    June 21, 2011 7:00am-7:30am PDT

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you said. streets adjacent to the corridors, as happened on the clement and the inner sunset and parts of kiri, where we did -- were able to supplement with manual cleaning, so these folks absolutely where they need is there, they would be positioned to do that in a way that will be much more cost-effective than sending in mechanical sweeper through every week. yes, they would serve that function as well. supervisor mirkarimi: good afternoon. first, i just would like to say coming off this past weekend, my strong appreciation to you and the rest of the department of public works for just a cake but district 5 cleanup. it was a great weekend on saturday. we were able to mobilize well over 200 -- maybe 300 -- people
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throughout the district from the inner sunset, moving as far east getting close to the border of even city hall, and it was great. it really was. one of those days that makes any supervisor proud. with that said, it coincides also with the distinction that we read in the paper the san francisco is one of the dirtiest cities in the united states, and i think it is important that we try to tackle this head on. this is something that i know is on the minds of all 11 of us. we know that annual cleanups obviously cannot satisfy the day-to-day need of making sure that our districts and cities shine as well as we would like. so if you would not mind just a little bit, and maybe you have not had the opportunity, or if you have, to recall for me some of the points that this budget -- how this budget might be
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designed to tackle either those perceptions or those concerns about the blight and sort of the dirtiness of san francisco. >> thank you for the question and thank you also for your support of our community clean team effort. i know we talked back in january or february, and you were already at that point asking us to start ramping up and make sure we had a good turnout, and i think we got a great result. thanks to all of you for the support of our community programs. they are definitely an important part of our overall strategy to keeping the city clean because the city resources themselves are not adequate. i guess in response -- and i do not know if i want to comment on the designation as one of the dirtiest cities. i do not know exactly what methodology used, but quite frankly, i think we all know that san francisco is not generally as clean and beautiful as we would like it to be, despite the significant amount of resources that we invest,
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both city resources as well as volunteer resources, trying to make it so. one of the main -- the program we're talking about that the mayor is proposing that we at least partially restore is probably the single biggest bang for the buck, and the single biggest strategic approach that we have to addressing this. thanks to the work of the controller's office and other so ago, they completed a study of people out in the streets to try to get an understanding of what drives their perception of how clean or dirty the city is. we have our evaluation method that the voters approve back and number of years ago, by which we measure how clean the streets are. there are standards, and we measure how well we're doing toward those standards, and while we have been improving
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each year, for the most part, and we are pleased with that, we wanted to better understand what drove people's perceptions of whether the city is clean or not. commercial corridors was one of the findings of that study, an area that drives people perceptions. so it is an area where there is a lot of foot traffic or where every day san franciscans spend their time to meet their daily needs. with the mayor's support, we think that is a very strategic area to focus in, to deploy a folks out there, to not wait for a service request that may or may not come because not everybody calls 311 every day, but to proactively both address the actual issues out there by picking up litter and wiping out the graffiti, but also by engaging people, particularly the merchants, and reminding them of their responsibilities to keep the areas in front of their properties clean, to provide education and resources
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and support to make sure that happens. so i would say within the budget that the single biggest thing that we're doing to address this issue of the city not being as clean as we like it is this investment. we are maintaining funding in our most critical areas on the whole. you recently -- i think you were the champion on this legislation, helped push through legislation that strengthen some of our enforcement efforts. because of that, we are ramping up a little bit in our streets, inspector, staff, so we will be able to go out and address blight issues and broken sidewalk and other issues that should further help to improve the overall condition of the city and the perception of it. we focus quite a bit through our community programs on outreach
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and education. we have had a "don't leave it on the sidewalk" campaign. we have had a caring for your tree campaign. we have a number of different programs where we're really trying to affect the behavior is of people and engage people. there's a lot of different things we're doing to try to address this. we do not want our own residents or people coming from the outside to walk around san francisco thinking this is a dirty city. i guess what i would say finally with all that said is that the fact remains that it does take resources, a ultimately, to keep the city clean. as i mentioned, we have more than 100 fewer people on the streets than we did just three years ago when i came into this job. we are trying to be as strategic as we can. used outreach, education, partnership.
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this new version of the corridors program, but it is hard to compensate for the loss of more than 100 people who are out there keeping the streets clean seven days a week. supervisor mirkarimi: to that point, i want to speak to the question of enforcement, especially since i did sponsor the legislation, did so knowing very well that dpw has appeared in demonstrated to everything they can with what resources they are, so then how do we send the right message to people who think that is okay, you know, to, you know, just leave debris on our streets or blood or whatever the case may be. as you reminded me, our district generates the most 311, or at least our office does, in the city, and we introduce those every tuesday to shore those
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up, and yet, we realize that we are taxing, as all of us try to do, the city services to respond. the question i am wondering is are people getting away with this with impunity? are we seen as basically being so passive about it that they think that we can go ahead and do this? >> with the approval by the board of the plight ordinance, we have made significant strides, particularly with regard to graffiti on private property. we're getting much better compliance now pirie to the extent people are not complying, we have and that is and to basically compel compliance. folks are not, on the whole, i would say getting away with it with impunity. for the many tens of thousands of service requests for graffiti that we are getting, we are getting very high levels of compliance and you may see 10 or
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12 people who are not happy, but those other many thousands are complying, said that is helpful. the new legislation would become effective. in another week or so, we will be able to take that same approach. your to four, we did not have any strong means of enforcing. we would issue a citation, or it would be dismissed by an administrative law judge. what i have the means to address other issues that address the street not being cleaned. supervisor mirkarimi: mayor newsom led the charge a few years ago to significantly
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reduce trash cans in san francisco. do we still think that is a good idea? >> from our experience in that program, it was largely effective. there are places where cans were removed where we have since put them back, but that is a very small majority. generally, we were removing cans that were being abused by people that did not have adequate garbage service, so we have been really targeting people will not have garbage service, to make sure that they comply with the law that requires them to have it. on the whole, it has, we believe, been a good thing but we evaluate things on a case by case basis, and we are still systematically removing cans where we think they are not adding value, and we are replacing cans where we think they are needed. supervisor mirkarimi: lastly, regarding the corridor program, you're sort a big fan of that. whenever we can do to sustain
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and enhance those programs, especially in the trickiest of corridors, mixed use residential business. it makes a world of difference if they just get that extra special attention. we have seen it in the haight. divisidero is almost a poster child of a different kind. but it is something that i think if it can be proliferated, that could be a budget priority. >> we agree, that was certainly the mayor's priority for us. it was an extremely effective program, extremely well- received. unfortunately, we always have to chase service requests, so when it came time over the past three years to make budget cuts, that was the part of our budget that was the most discretionary, but we are pleased that the mayor has recommended it for at least partial funding, and we will be looking for ways to sustain that. supervisor mirkarimi: thank you. supervisor chu: thank you.
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one follow-up question from the line of questioning that the supervisor asked. with regard to illegal dumping, one of the things we have always heard, where it would help to inform were problematic into sections and problematic areas were for illegal dumping, pickups across the city probably had a sense of where the largest and most problematic areas are, are we able to be proactive about particular areas that have been targets of illegal dumping? i know recently there was a grant recently. what are your thoughts on that issue? >> while there are certainly hot spots, there are a lot of hot spots. it is not a matter of there being three or four or small areas of the city where a lot of the dumping is concentrated. we do review that data quite frequently, but the number of hot spots we have is in the many
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dozens as opposed to a smaller number. we did secure that grant, and we thank the board for its support. and our applying for it and accepting it. we are just now about ramping up the program, and it will identify -- i think it is about 25 hot spots, and we will be evaluating the dumping and looking for this medications -- looking for the alterations, looking for the sources and addressing resources to try to get ahead of it. we invested a lot in various -- maybe not in money, but in effort and various types of illegal dumping. preventative or education efforts, and have not been able to see a whole lot of significant results to date. we have partnered with the city
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attorney's office to proactively pursues civil action against some illegal dumpers. we have been working with a number of different departments to try to tighten up the process or try to identify who is doing the dumping, but it has remained somewhat elusive, and we are hopeful that this grant, which gave us some dedicated resources to try to get a better handle on this, will help us that we can then expand to other areas of the city that are subject to that kind of dumping. supervisor chu: thank you. >> moving to our other main service impact, and this was a topic of the hearing at the committee on neighborhood services a week ago, and this has to do with management of our urban forests. there is about 100,000 street trees in san francisco, most of which -- about 2/3 -- are currently maintained by the property owner.
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that leaves about 1/3 that are currently maintained by the government, by the department of public works. the reason why some our city maintained and some are not -- there is not a really good rhyme or strong logic to how that played out over time, but the fact is that most people are responsible for their trees, but for some people, the government is doing it for them. unfortunately, we do not have the resources to adequately maintain those 30,000 or so of street trees that are currently our responsibility to maintain. we should be trimming them on an average of every three to five years, but we're probably closer to 10 years on average of one we are getting to these trees. so what we're proposing to do is something that we have the authority under the public works code, article 16, which is the urban forestry ordinance, which places upon us the
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responsibility for the urban forest, and i should say that as a responsibility that we take very seriously. we think the urban forest is an extremely essential part of the city's infrastructure. we have much less forced to cover than many other cities of period between the environmental benefits and economic benefits, traffic-calming benefits, there is a lot of reasons to having a very strong, healthy forests, and we are committed to having one, but given that we do not have the resources to maintain our portion, what we're planning to do is systematically transfer responsibility for the maintenance of street trees that we currently maintained to private property owners said that they, like the rest of their neighbors, would assume that responsibility. our process for doing so, which is prescribed in the public works code, and we would follow that process.
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that would require us to do this over quite a long time. we estimate seven years. my guess is it would take longer, but this would enable us to bring down the number of assets or trees we are maintaining to be in line with the resources we have to maintain them. as much as i would really rather not have to do this, i do think it is the responsible and equitable thing to do. this does coincide with the $600,000 proposed reduction in our urban forestry unit. even if that reduction were not being proposed in the mayor's budget, we do not have nearly the amount of resources that we would need to be able to maintain the trees that we have. the level of funding would need to be $3 million or $4 million higher in order for us to just maintain that 1/3 of the urban forest that is our responsibility to maintain it
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properly. so that's has been the main other operating budget service reduction or service change that we are contemplating. i can move on quickly to the capital budget and wrap up, but i can cause if there are questions. supervisor wiener: i just want to really reiterated point that you just made. i know that i am -- i think there is good support for this, so i will be trying to add back that $600,000 because i think that we should not be neglecting our urban forest, but i think it is very important to emphasize for the public that this cut does not take us from doing a global job with our streets trees to nothing. it takes us from being woefully
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inadequately funded in terms of our tree maintenance budget to a lower level. and we need to find a sustainable funding stream so that we can actually take care of our urban forests. this applies to reckon park as well. in terms of the street trees, i think it is also important to emphasize that a lot of property owners either do not realize they are supposed to take care of their trees or they know it, but they just do not do it. it really is not a great system to rely on property owners because there will be so much inconsistency, and it would be so much better if we as a city just find a sustainable source to do it ourselves, and i look forward to working with you on this. >> thank you. i fully concur. supervisor chu: thank you. just a question -- out of the
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25,000 public trees that are currently the responsibility of dpw, do you know how many of those were planted that represent our recent plant? i know that part of the issue that we have been hearing from a lot of residents is the fact that the city endeavored to plant a number of trees over the past several years that we made promises that it be the responsibility of the city to put them in, so it is really writing people the wrong way that ru --bbing -- rubbing people the wrong way that the city is planting the trees, but there's a problem, it is their responsibility, and they say that they are going to reverse that. do you know how many of the public domain trees are part of that process? >> our plan is not to relinquish maintenance responsibility for trees that are in the category that you referenced that we planted as part of the trees for tomorrow
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program with a commitment that the city would maintain them. i think we planted a total -- of the 25,000 trees that were part of that, that got planted as part of the program, i think dpw street trees numbered around 7000 or 8000, and there is a subset where we did those with a commitment that the city would maintain, so we intend to continue, first of all, the establishment of those trees, but we also would not be planning to relinquish responsibility for those. >> so those are outside of this proposal at the moment? >> that is correct. supervisor chu: thank you. >> we do have some of our operation from a capital budget. a lot of these are recurring items, so i will not spend much time on them. what i will point out is that
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the mayor cozy proposed budget assumes -- the mayor's proposed budget assumes that the funds that would come from the street on, that the mayor approve the resolution for a couple of weeks ago, so what that means on the right-hand side of this chart is that what is in the proposed budget from kind of existing funds would make for about $24 million paving program with the passage of the bond, we would have another $42 million of that paving program, which would give us about $65 million, $66 million, which would be a level of funding that will allow us to improve the condition of the streets. we have about $50 million this year. we will either drop down to $24 million or head up to $66 million, obviously going up $24 million haven program, we will start to see a more noticeable decline in the condition of the streets. i just want to point out that
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that is an assumption in year. there are two other assumptions for sidewalk repair and kurds ramps. this is something we are really required to do in order to meet the requirements of our transition plan. -- sidewalk repair and curb ramps. the mayor's proposed budget -- again, assumes funding for the second half of the year for those programs will come from the bond. this is something that we considered to be mandatory as opposed to discretionary, should the bond not pass, that $3.8 million would be a gap that we would need to address mid-year through a supplemental appropriation or some other vehicle, said the budget assumes the passage of the bond in that respect. also the $2.4 million worth of
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st. structures funds and the bridges, tunnels, stairways, retaining walls, guardrails -- those funds will be available to us if the bond passes. otherwise, there is no other funding in the proposed budget. finally, you had asked for review of -- in terms of the five-year financial plan. what you see here, i think, reflects what you see from any other department, and citywide, the cost of our providing the base line of services that we provide is going up faster than the anticipated revenue growth, and it is largely driven by benefit cost increases, and this is based on -- although the mou's are not negotiated out, it is based on assumptions of basically the current level of
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wage and benefit increases. it is not at the moment a sustainable five-year outlook, as it is not for the rest of the city. there are not a lot of things that we at the department level can do to address that. pension reform would be the single biggest thing that would help bring us into balance. in terms of alternative revenue sources, supervisor wiener mentioned the idea of maybe getting tree care off of the -- directly funded by property owners. we have been exploring other cities do this, not just for trees, but for landscaping. were there to be a parcel tax or assessment district or some other revenue stream, those costs could come off the general revenue fund. but again, there's not a whole
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lot that we do that we are supported by the general fund for that has a whole lot of obvious revenue solutions. beyond pension and benefit reform, and the development of alternative revenue solutions, that we would really be talking service reductions, as we look out to try to close what i am 5 years would be, with nothing changing, a $22 million shortfall. just to close, i referenced -- we actually have two items on the agenda aside from our budget. item six is the proposed creation of public works greening fund. what this would do is when we get private sector or philanthropic donations for greening projects, which we do get on occasion, it would allow
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us to accept them for the city and deposit them into a fund without having to come to the board each time. we have gotten these types of things for pavement to parks projects and the like, and this would just create a vehicle for us to more efficiently received and expend those. item eight is the revenue, the fee change that i mentioned. i do have one correction, and that legislation on page two, line four, we have the current street space occupancy fee for purposes other than construction, list that -- as proposed to go to $56.76 per day. the correct number with cost-of- living adjustments should be $57.62, so i would respectfully request an amendment of our
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proposed legislation to change that, and again, the increased revenues are assumed in our proposed budget. finally, with respect to the budget analyst report, i first want to thank mr. rose and his staff for the excellent work they have done with us to go through our budget and work with us on it. i already mentioned the issue of the proposed $200,000 reduction that we think it makes good sense to reduce the. it is substituted with $200,000 cut from the environment department from the impound account. we also have worked with them on one other item that also focused -- all of these are on page 109.
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i believe we have come to agreement with them. i do not want to speak for them. to remove that item. with those changes, we are in full agreement with the budget analyst's report. one other note i would make with regard to the report on page 112, where there is recommendations for de- incumbrances, two of those are general fund. the first two our general fund encumbrances. first is a matter of a recreation and park project that was in litigation, so we are not in a position to be able to de- encumber -- the second item is for